Brady’s Hills – Lakeview

The Battle Creek Enquirer on December 30, 1956 lists Brady’s Hills as one of 4 new ski areas in western lower Michigan. On Feb. 10, 1961, The Ludington Daily News snow report said Brady’s Hills would re-open on Saturday with new snow. In the 1971 AAA Michigan “Winter Sports Fun List”, published in The Cass City Chronicle on Dec. 10, 1970, Brady’s Hills, is said to be off M-46 and it had 10 slopes, a Poma lift, 6 rope tows, night skiing and snowmaking. The 1968 guide, from the same newspaper, printed on Jan. 4, 1968 said the area was off M-46 between Amble and Lakeview and had 10 slopes, electric rope tows and snowmaking, no mention of the Poma which must have been installed in 1969 or 1970. Even earlier, the 1966 Guide listed Brady’s with just 9 ski runs, but said they had electric rope tows and snowmaking. Lakeview is between Grand Rapids and Big Rapids, about 6 mi. east of US-131.

In a post below, Jennifer Knappen says Brady’s Hills was opened by her grandparents in the winter of 1956. The area was named for her great grandfather, Brede Paulson who had owned the land before them.

Brady’s Hills has a Facebook page. Renee says she thinks it closed between ’82 and ’86 while she was in high school. It is now open for horseback riding and the old lodge with its beautiful fireplace has been converted into a private residence.

Brady, in a comment below says it closed after the 82-83 season and that the former access road off M-46 is now a plowed field. The sBradys Hills Patch from Bernie Riehlatellite shows what may be ski slope scars on the west slope of a hill about 1 mi. south of M-46. Bob, in another post below suggests that Brady’s
Hills may have been know under another name, Winterskol,  around 1980. From other posts, the name seems to have changed around 1976 and reverted back to Brady’s Hills around 1982.

Brady Paulson sent along scans of an old Brady’s Hills brochure:

Brady's Hills Brochure

Brady’s Hills Brochure

Brady's Hills Brochure (reverse)

Brady’s Hills Brochure (reverse)

If you have any information about skiing at Brady’s Hills, Please post it here or send it to us via the directions on the About MILSAP page.

43 Responses to Brady’s Hills – Lakeview

  1. Brady Paulson says:

    Th 82/83 season was the last year for skiing at Brady’s Hills.
    The entrance was off M-46 on Gravel Ridge 0.6miles south. The old Driveway is now gone and worked as farmland.

  2. Bob says:

    A 1980 roadmap shows Brady as being called Winterskol, change of ownership before going Milsap?

  3. jennifer knappen says:

    brady’s hills was built by arthur and genevieve paulson, my grandparents, with the help of my uncles jack and rick paulson. it opened in the winter of 1956 with rope tows and no indoor plumbing. it was named after brede paulson, arthur’s father, who originally owned the land.

    • Janis Mercer Stasiak says:

      Jennifer, as a young mid/high school student our school brought us to Brady’s to ski for ski club. Loved the lodge and the hill. I learned here with my Brother Bill and Sister Karen. Sure wish it was still open. Glad it is being used at least. Is your Uncle Rick still around? He was such a good guy back then. He would save my favorite ski’s and boots so I could always have them. He might remember my brother and me. Mercer’s from Edmore. If he is around, please tell him of my fond memories and say Hi from us. Feel free to email if you want.

    • Bob Sisco says:

      Jennifer K or Brady P, do either of you happen to know a mid 60’s year old named Fred Willison? He grew up on M46 maybe a mile or so from Brady Hills and walked to the area. He has many vivid memories and stories he told me about the ski area. He said he knew many Paulsons. His family farmed there. I talk to him frequently and is a close friend. I’m sure he can furnish a lot of info. I believe he said a former early Amway salesman bought it( was for sale for $299k in ’81 according to the Winterskol article)and was used for hunting outings. Any info would be great which I can forward to Fred and back.

      Milsap is there a way to send private messages?

      • MILSAP says:

        Bob, I have the email addresses of those who leave comments. I could contact someone by email and give them your email address or ask them if you could contact them. Or you could reply to their comment with a request to contact you privately, but you would have to post your email address in the comment.

      • jennifer knappen says:

        I don’t know him, brady might.

  4. Ken Allen says:

    It was the first place I had ever skied In the winter of 1976-7 with my girlfriend and now wife of 31 years. It was called Winterskol then. I remember the face of the hill was really steep. I would guess it had about 200 foot verticle. It was a church youth trip and we slept on the floor of a luthern chuch in Howard City. That trip that started my love for skiing

  5. I am from Breckenridge Michigan and this iswhere I skied as a child. I am 55 now, and we went looking for this place last year. I could see from 46 where it use to be. My husband and I tried to find where it was but no luck, now i know why we couldn’t find it.
    Thanks for the imformation here on it. Thanks for the memories!!!

  6. MItzi Acton Bivins says:

    Glad I found this site! As a young girl we skiied here. My neighbor Mr.Roberts taught lessons here. We were from Breckenridge Mi. Last year my husband and I tried finding this place. You could see where it use to be from 46. I would love to see pics of how this place use to look and any information on it. I am now 55 , loved skiing here as a child and teenager. thanks

  7. Jon Prisbe says:

    I learned to ski at Brady’s Hills. Grew up just west of there in Howard City.

  8. My dad would take us to Brady’s back in the mid 60’s. We lived in Grandville and would run up for the day. He worked for Blue Cross and the co. paid for gas so we tended to hike a little to find the less expensive ski areas. It was a nice little area to learn on, didn’t tend to be as icy as Cannonsburg or Pando. Skied there once when it was so foggy you barely see the slope–and absolutely no seeing the bumps or moguls (such as they were.) It was a gentle, family oriented place. Lace up boots and Northstar hickory skis!

  9. Ann says:

    I learned how to ski there too. I now live in Cape Coral FL

  10. Janis Mercer Stasiak says:

    So glad that I searched for Brady’s and found this informational site. Thank you so much. Very interesting read.

  11. Jay Moore says:

    I also learned to ski here as a kid with my Dad on leather lace up boots, cable bindings, and Northstar skis in the early/mid 60’s before Pando and Cannonsburg. We lived in GR and would head up for a Saturday of fun. I recall it being a very family oriented place … loved the hot chocolate and the nutty donuts. I’m 60 now … still skiing and enjoying it, but have a nostalgic and romantic perspective of where I came from. It was a great place that forever will remain in my memories.

  12. Aaron Besemer says:

    I skied there all of my childhood beging in 1965 untill the day they closed. This place was the best, of the best. I have very fond memories of that place that will never be forgotten. There was one time I skied over 90 days that season. I went through plenty of glove guards on those tow ropes over the years.

  13. Helen says:

    My son, Mike Taylor, worked at Brady’s Hills during his senior year of high school – liked it more than laying irrigation pipe!! 🙂

  14. I started skiing there 50 years ago this year. If my memory serves me right, we skied on Wednesday nights, Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday. While going through old pictures, we found a receipt for a family season pass… $50. I can’t even get a day pass for that anymore. I’m still skiing and often think of Bud Abbey and the hours of lessons we took from him.

  15. Tom Johnson says:

    Loved skiing here. As a 7 year old in 1970 is was here with my cubco bindings and wooden skiis with the screwed on edges. Many fun memories and 1 bad one when I broke my leg on Shelter run. I was back at it 9 weeks later though. Still skiing every year out west (and up north MI too)

  16. Jeff Kurtze says:

    Growing up in Carson City, the high school ski club came up. I graduated in 76 and always knew it as Brady’s Hills. My senior year a friend of mine, my brother and I came skiing. My friend, wanting one more run, fell and broke his leg. A long bumpy drive to Alma hospital….. Other than that, good memories of the slopes.

  17. Mike Disher says:

    My family moved to Lakeview from southern Kentucky when I was 5 years old. It seemed that folks in the north skied in the winter so my folks got me on the slopes that year at Moon’s Hills just north of Lakeview. There were Mom & Pop ski places everywhere. After a year or two, I was ready to move up to the much larger and more intimidating Brady’s Hills. My Mother bought us kids Season’s Passes for about $60 and dropped us off there every Saturday. It was a great deal for her and since everyone there knew each other we were well watched after.
    A few years later (about 1970) Brady’s added a Poma Lift. It had only been running about 10 minutes when I got on it. About half way up, it broke, tossing me into the air. Ski Patrol folks came running from all over but I landed in soft snow and was fine. Rick Paulson found me a little while later to interview me about the incident. He laughed when I told them I knew something was wrong but since I was eager to be one of the first to ride it and no one told me to get off, I stayed on. It took another week or two with more counter weight before it was open again.
    In the mid to late 1970s it seems that the Poulsons sold the place to a group of investors who changed the name to Winterskol.
    In the early 1990s I was skiing with my wife at Crystal Mountain outside Thompsonville when from the lift we saw an older guy gracefully picking his way through the bumps whistling a tune as he went. I told her how the guy who taught me to ski at Brady’s Hills years ago used to whistle as he skied. Later we caught up with him and to my surprise it was Bud Abby himself. I had the opportunity to thank him for myself and all the others in Lakeview that he had taught to ski over the years.
    Somehow Gary and Ellen Baker of Lakeview ended up with one of the picnic tables and benches from the old Brady’s Hills lodge. Steve Moblo bought it at an auction this summer and has the set at his home in Gowen.

    • Steve says:

      UPDATE: I ran into Brady Poulsen at Lakeview’s Sesqucentennial June 2017. When I discovered who it was I offered the furniture to him as it wasn’t fitting our grand landscaping theme. He readily accepted for he and his sisters, family of the original Bradys Hills owners.

  18. jennifer knappen says:

    Bud abbey taught me to ski also.

  19. Erik Knappen says:

    Mike Disher, I was watching as you got shot up in the air by the Poma lift that day. Some of the best times of my life was spent at the ski area and my grandparents farm that sat south of the ski area road….Hi Brady!!

  20. Bob Sisco says:

    Picture taken from Gravel Ridge rd a few years back


  21. John Roeser says:

    I had an algebra teacher in jr high school in Grand Rapids in 1954. He got a few of us interested in skiing. We would go to Green Ridge Country Club and slide down the hill at the 18th green. It must have1956 that we made our first trip to Brady’s Hills for our groups first “real” ski area. They had a rope tow and everything. We would buy a lift ticket and if it had snowed during the week, we would all “side step” the run ( gromming ). When we were done the lift would be started. We spent a number of days at Brady’s. None of us drove so we would have to talk one of our parents to drive us up on Saturday and another on Sunday. I went on to be on the Ski Patrol at Boyne Mountain and in 1983 opened a ski shop in Vail, Colorado. Brady’s Hills started it all for me.
    John Roeser
    Fort Myers, FL

    • Robert Sisco says:

      Hi Bob Knox publisher, I emailed you several pictures of Echo Valley last week for you to post here on Milsap as I am unable. I visited Skyline, Hanson Hills, and Missaukee Mountain 9/30/16 and have several pictures I can email to you.

      I would like a personal email response acknowledging you received my Echo Valley pics sent and would love you to share them here for all to enjoy with a credit. If you reply I can send you over 20 pics of Skyline and several from Missaukee Mtn and HH.

      Thank you , Bob Sisco

      Sent from my iPhone

      • MILSAP says:

        Thanks, Robert. I received your pictures and will create a gallery for them. We would love to have more pictures from you.

      • Robert Sisco says:

        Ok here they come , all taken 9/30/16

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Robert Sisco says:

        Bob Knox , I have several( over 20 ) pictures of Searchmont Ontario if you want them let me know Bob Sisco

        Sent from my iPhone

      • MILSAP says:

        I’d like to see them, Bob, but I’ll have to think about creating pages for areas in neighboring states and provinces. I have had requests in the past to include northern Indiana areas. What do you think?

  22. Sam Cornelius says:

    Learned to ski at Brady Hills in the 1960’s, coming over from Alma. As a young kid, I didn’t pay that much attention to these details, but I believe that we were taking part in a ski school sponsored or organized somehow by Michigan Outdoors (Mort Neff’s TV show) and by the folks at Leonard’s refinery in Alma. Quite a few Alma families came over on a mid-week evening for the lessons.

  23. William Boonstra says:

    pre 1980. Winterskol the entrance sign was stained dark brown with orange letters. Ski Brady Hills…? Passed by alot but didnt ski it..A friend did, and described a interesting, weird old school poma lift. I do remember the Winterskol change over sign white with blue or black lettering? Please forward Bob any clear images of these entrance signs.

  24. Patrick Pung says:

    Is there any possibility of acquiring anything from the old Brady Hills-if so who who I contact, etc..? ie: Signs, brochures, photos(from the 60s/70s time period) or any other keepsakes? Please respond directly to my email and in subject put Brady Hills. Thanks, Patrick

  25. denise says:

    I remember going to Brady Hills with my dad to go hunting for many years. He would always stop at the house and say hi to Mr and Mrs Paulson, before we went back in there. i remember one year we were there and my dad pointed out at this BIG Buck standing on top of one of ski hills, steam was coming out of his nose and he was making all kinds of noises, and as a kid it seemed like his rack was monster. My Dad told me, that buck is smart, he watches you and is always far enough away. He always claimed he would get it but never did. I remember we could get into the ski lodge also and my dad would let me sit in there while he was hunting, it wasnt open yet. I kinda remember playing pin ball machines and drinking hot coco. I also remember and older man pulling up and talking to my dad while he was hunting. When we would leave my dad would stop by the house to let them know we were leaving and i remember a very nice lady always inviting me in for something eat. My mom and dad took me up there to going ski alot, i just never got the hang of it. In fact we took my friends up there as mom and dad sat in the club house talking to, i guess the owners because we would be there till dark and my parents didn”t ski. I remember coming down one of those hills and i bear hugged a tree. I had so many bruises. I am not for sure but i believe is hunted there when maybe a son ran it also. Then i remember my dad saying he could no longer hunt there, they sold it or something. I believe i was skiing there when it was the Winterskol also.

  26. Tracy Quick says:

    I believe my Grandma was a cook here.
    Our house was about 1/4 mile down the road. My cousin & I would play in the snow at my house & listen to the ski resorts music.
    I learned to ski here the year before they closed.

  27. Cindy watkins says:

    As a 12/13 year old I learned to ski at Brady’s late 60’s. Loved the place, took friends there to learn in the 70’s and one of my nieces learned there early 80’s. Remember the name change, didn’t seem to fit. Remember the fireplace, hot chocolate and seemed like we never came inside till we had to leave. Great memories. I’m 64 now, still ski and often think of Brady. Wish it was still open easy place to teach the grandchildren. I think I may have pictures, will see if I can locate them.

  28. tkk2hotmailcom says:

    My mom took lessons from Bud Abbey during the 71-72 ski season and then when I turned 5 in 74 they put me on skis – we skied there every winter until it closed. We lived in Trufant so every night after school our father would take us skiing. I am so grateful that my siblings and I were able to have such a great childhood skiing at the best place in Michigan. What can be better than hanging out with your friends, skiing, sitting at the top of the hill listening to the music and watching the snow fall, sitting around the amazing fire eating the amazing soft pretzels or watching all the “cool” kids doing tricks off the large jump that was always at the top of the fast tow rope. AH the tow ropes, I wonder how fast the fast one really went because if you weren’t careful it felt like it could take your arm off and when you were tired you couldn’t hang on when you got to the steep part at the top, thank god I always had my best friend behind me to pull me up the rest of the way. Wondering if anyone remembers the amazing woman who drove a yellow VW Bug with flowers painted on it that matched her ski outfit. She just seemed like such a cool lady! Only at Brady’s!
    I would love a patch that is posted on this page if anyone knows where I might be able to find one!

    • Gary Rackliffe says:

      The woman in the yellow, painted ski outfit was my mother, Dotti Rackliffe. She and my dad, who was on the ski patrol loved Brady’s, and we skied there a lot starting in the late 50s. When Brady’s closed, they started skiing at Crystal Mountain where Bud Abbey and other Brady folks had homes. Mother and Dad (David) retired to western Austria so they could keep skiing – in her yellow outfit.
      They have both passed away now, but the memory of those days goes on – Thanks for the reminder.

  29. ljbyers1 says:

    Four or five of us would load up in what ever vehicle was available (running) every Friday (got out of classes at noon) and go down there from Ferris. Mr. and Mrs. Paulson would let us ski for free until 3pm to break up the ice on the slopes before they opened at 3:00pm for evening skiing. We sure did appreciate their generosity because we couldn’t afford to ski that often or as long anywhere else. Great memories of great fun at a great place. Makes me wish for “Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine”

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